Thursday, August 31, 2023

Jamaica gets extra pavement  


On August 10, 2023, the New York City Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction announced the completion of their pedestrian safety improvements in Jamaica, Queens. The goal of the pedestrian safety improvements is to create a more inviting space for residents to enjoy Downtown Jamaica and reduce the amount of car crashes resulting in serious pedestrian injury in the area.

On Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue in Queens, sidewalk space has more than doubled, the distance to cross Parsons Boulevard has been significantly reduced and there is a new pedestrian island. All improvements come from the Jamaica NOW Action Plan which utilizes community visions to revamp Downtown Jamaica. Public space improvements have been at the top of the community’s wish list, with safety improvements specifically to Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue being at the forefront of discussion.

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez stated, “New Yorkers deserve streets and public spaces that are safe, vibrant, and welcoming for all. This project will make Parsons Boulevard safer and better for the community and those who visit. I thank our partners at DDC, the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, elected officials, and community members for their collaboration.”

Council Member Nantasha Williams stated, “This investment into pedestrian safety is much needed and greatly appreciated. Parsons Blvd and the Downtown Jamaica area grow more vibrant every day, and we look forward to making this neighborhood an even more walkable community where constituents can live, work and play in safety.”

Meanwhile, a mere 2 blocks away on Jamaica Ave, Ydanis and the DOT made some public spaces that are pretty vibrant and welcoming too. Safe? Not so sure. Also not sure how much they spent on usurping parking spaces for lounging by busy traffic and a bus lane. 


Saturday, August 26, 2023

NYPD, DHS and homeless service provider cover up overdose death at Glendale warehouse shelter 


Glendale residents who live only blocks away from the men’s shelter on Cooper Avenue are well-informed on the recurring issues emanating from shelter inhabitants.

A local business owner who spoke with QNS, who wished not to be identified, said although they’ve been fortunate enough not to have any problems with the shelter occupants, locals continue to complain about overall safety and trespassing on private property.

Residents who spoke with QNS emphasized more concerns over shelter residents seen walking into their backyards, asking for money and loitering in front of storefronts.

The recent death of a 25-year-old man inside the Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center, located at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale, amplified concerns from residents and Councilman Robert Holden, who is continuing to fight against the housing facility.

On Wednesday, Aug. 16, officers from the 104th Precinct responded to a 911 call of an unconscious person inside the Cooper Avenue shelter. When officers arrived, they were told a 25-year-old man was found unconscious and unresponsive. EMS responded and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Police have yet to release the name of the deceased.

According to information shared with Holden’s office, the deceased allegedly overdosed on drugs, but neither the NYPD nor the city’s Department of Homeless Services could confirm the cause of death when contacted by QNS.

“Protecting the health and safety of our clients is our top priority. We work to ensure that we are providing quality care and comprehensive security at our sites, and our provider-partner staff work closely with clients to help them stabilize their lives, a DHS spokesperson told QNS in a statement. “When we learn of any fatalities at our sites, even in cases of natural causes, we absolutely cannot make any immediate determinations and must defer to a medical examiner’s report to determine the cause of death. We have necessary processes and protocols in place to ensure we are doing our due diligence,”

Holden continues to hold former Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steve Banks responsible for the shelter’s ongoing issues in the Glendale area. Holden once again called on the city to close the homeless shelter for good.

“Former Mayor de Blasio and the ‘Grim Reaper,’ former DHS Commissioner Banks, recklessly pushed this shelter, fully aware of its impact on my constituents’ lives,” said Holden. “WestHab’s involvement, driven by questionable affiliations, has only exacerbated the problems. Another overdose death underscores the urgency of shutting down this ill-conceived shelter — a decision that should have been made years ago.”

Friday, August 25, 2023

Friday, August 18, 2023

House renovation in limbo used as billboard ad for parade and foodie festival 

Since our governor and mayor keep botching the housing crisis, why not use a house to advertise a local event instead of finishing the job and making it livable? 

Check out the garage... 

The owner of this renovation even raised the cellar windows for more housing for people.

But wait a minute, turns out there is a big reason why this house has been in housing crisis suspended animation, it's got tons of violations and it's been recently occupied by squatters.

And maybe the latter still is judging by this Citibike ebike. 

Guess the tactic of not building a stoop will deter desperate people from getting shelter.



Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Teenage girl sexually harrassed and assaulted twice walking by Ozone Park homeless shelter 


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

1:00 PM

Laurel Hall Shelter

85-15 101 Ave

Ozone Park NY 11416



Owner-Asher Shafran/Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Do we wait for someone to get raped before anyone will listen to us?

On July 18, 2023, a 17-year-old girl, a minor, was sexually harassed and terrified by clients of DHS/Lantern living in the Laurel Hall Shelter. We approached Lantern and asked for a meeting to resolve this situation. A meeting was set for Tuesday, August 8, 2023, with Senator Addabbo, Community Board # 9 District Manager James McClelland, the NYPD 102 Pct Captain Kivlin with community affairs, and the parent of the 17-year-old and Lantern. Ironically, the night before the meeting, August 7, 2023, the same girl was sexually harassed; this time, a police report was filed with the 102 PCT. When we arrived Tuesday, Lantern refused to meet with us after knowing that this meeting was set up for almost ten days, slamming the door in our faces and refusing to even talk to the Senator. Their excuse was DHS told them not to meet with us. UNACCEPTABLE AND UNPROFESSIONAL. Total disregard for our Ozone Park community.


We are holding a press conference with the parent of the 17-year-old girl to put a face to the problem and show this administration that these are real people being affected by mismanaged providers who have no regard for our community. We have had a very cordial relationship with the past management of Lantern, but the new administration has proven to be ineffective in working with our community and keeping our residents safe. If this is a sign of things to come, ALL communities must be vigilant and aware of what is happening or what could happen. This could have easily turned into another rape, but the girl lives next to the shelter and was able to free herself and get home both times.


A reminder that on October 2019, a 3-year-old was sexually molested by a resident of this very same shelter. DHS, under Steve Banks's and Mayor Deblasio's leadership, did nothing, nor did they try to help resolve this. At the time, an arrest was made with no help from DHS or Lantern. Warrants had to be issued as DHS refused to aid in the arrest.

We now demand Mayor Eric Adams look at everyone who was rolled over from the Banks/Deblasio days and either gets reassigned or fired. We are not going to wait for a repeat of molestation again. We are informing the city that the next time we will file a class action lawsuit holding the city, Dhs, Lantern, and the property owners responsible for all criminal activity from this shelter. You will NOT destroy our quality of life with your inability to control these clients. Many of them have untreated mental illness, and Lantern, DHS, nor NYC are doing anything to help.


We are also monitoring the sex apps to catch them using public areas to have sex. We have since closed 1 locations they got caught in and had them fenced up so they canot use them anymore. We also watch for the parks where they were trying to hook up there and have since turned that over to the NYPD.

DHS/Office of Intergovernmental Affairs was given seven days to set up the Community Advisory Board (CAB) Meeting, and here we are; nothing has been done. So we are now holding a press conference and allowing the mother of the minor 17-year-old to speak her voice and give a face to the sexual harassment and the inadequate way this shelter is being run. The mother has now advised us that she lives in fear and that she now wants to move.

The demands are as follows:

1-All personnel rolled over from the Banks/Deblasio administration need to be reassigned. They have proven to be inefficient, unconcerned and uncooperative.

2-We are asking for a review of Lantern's contract. What services are supposed to be provided, and what assistance are these clients supposed to have? We believe Lantern has cut corners and sacrificed our communities safety for profits.

3-Lantern needs to provide effective and caring leadership as the current leadership has failed our community as well as its mission statement of caring for the shelter clients while working with the community.

4- A review of how these clients are permitted to roam all over the neighborhood, stealing packages, drinking, causing havoc, and sitting on people's stoops with no programs provided by Lantern makes for more criminal activity.

5-We demand that we return to the days of the CAB meetings so that, as a community, we get to speak our voices, and they get to hear our concerns.

6-Security needs to be beefed up inside and outside this shelter. Loitering has become a huge problem surrounding this site, and security is doing nothing.

7-Lantern needs to respect our community, and we are tired of our voices not being heard.

8-We demand that the NYPD have access when necessary when a crime has been committed by a shelter client and not stonewalled by Lantern or DHS.

Sam Esposito


Ozone Park Residents Block Association-ozpkrba



A furious and fed-up Ozone Park mother rallied with community leaders Wednesday, Aug. 16, outside a shelter for homeless men where her 17-year-old daughter was allegedly sexually harassed by residents twice in the last month.

Lissette Moreno joined members of the Ozone Park Residents Block Association outside the Laurel Hall Shelter at 85-15 101st Ave. and told them about the first incident that happened to her daughter on July 18, as the teenager was walking home late at night after her shift at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach.

“It’s just not safe here. You have people here with mental illnesses that shouldn’t be here and if they are here, they should be on medication, they should be supervised,” Moreno said. “This shelter needs to go. It’s too dangerous for our kids,”

She said she lives on 86th Street directly next door to the shelter which is located across 101st Avenue from Crossover Baptist Church a block away from Ampere Playground. 

 “Who puts a shelter here where there are schools, where there are children? I have my daughter, she comes home from work at late hours, why does she have to be harassed by these guys?” Moreno asked. “I’m just so tired.”

She wanted her daughter to speak at the rally, but she stayed away out of fear of being targeted by the residents of the shelter. Moreno said the men are out in front of the building each night drinking and smoking and blasting loud music.

“This is a men’s shelter, so when they’re outside they want to interact with women,” Moreno said.

After her daughter was allegedly sexually molested by two men in front of the shelter on July 18, Moreno found her daughter trembling as the men were telling the teen to add their numbers to her phone. Two days later, one of the same men followed her daughter up the block. Her complaints have fallen on deaf ears and the people who run the shelter “have no compassion,” she said, adding her daughter wants to move out of the neighborhood and they are currently looking for a new place.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Reimagining the curb for people displaced by rising median rents,496&quality=75&strip=all

NY Post

Their housing situation is a stretch.

Homeless people are beating pricey rents in Queens’ hottest neighborhood by living out of their cars and RVs — including two men living the high life out of a beat-up limousine.

In the shadow of luxury high-rise apartments, at least four vehicles are being used as homes along an isolated five-block stretch of Queens Plaza South in Long Island City, The Post found this week.

Among them was a grey Lincoln Town Car Royale with busted-in tinted windows, paint stripped off its roof, many dents, and no license plates.

Inside the limo, skull masks sit atop tarps and sheets, while outside its broken windows are decorated with sheets of duct tape, cardboard, and a blue blanket sporting an eagle and flowers.

For roughly a year, two men have made the limo their home and are regularly spotted sweeping along the area, under the Queensboro Bridge — as if it was their front porch, according to homebound neighbors.

The duo has also been hooking into the city’s power grid for electricity by tapping into a nearby lamppost, residents claim.

“The guys in the limo [are] homeless and you feel terrible,” said one 48-year-old man who works in the neighborhood. “But at the same time, [the limo] is taking up three spots. There’s got to be a better way for [them] to be taken care of.”


Sunday, August 13, 2023

City bails out failing hotel with stemming the migrant crisis

 The Collective Paper Factory hotel, located at 37-06 36th St., will soon serve as a location to house economic migrants (Photo: Google Maps)

 LIC Post

A four-star hotel in Long Island City will soon serve as a location to house economic migrants, sources tell the Queens/LIC Post.

The Collective Paper Factory, a hotel located at 37-06 36th St., is understood to have closed last week and work is underway to convert it into a Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center, a shelter for economic migrants, according to sources familiar with the plan.

When operating as a hotel, the premises boasted 125 guest rooms, communal spaces, a gym, several meeting rooms, and a bar/restaurant on the ground floor.

It is unclear how many people will be housed at the 5-story facility as the city continues to struggle to cope with an unprecedented surge of migrants. Nearly 100,000 migrants have come through the city’s intake system since the spring of 2022 and the revised cost to the taxpayer is now expected to hit $12 billion by the summer of 2025.

The mayor’s office did not respond to an email request from the Queens/LIC Post seeking to confirm news about the shelter opening at The Collective Paper Factory. However, a woman at the hotel said via phone on Thursday, Aug. 10, that the hotel will soon be housing the migrants, in addition to other sources.

A spokesperson for Councilwoman Julie Won, who represents District 26 — which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Astoria — did not say if her office had been informed of the plans. The spokesperson said that throughout the migrant crisis, the city has not notified elected officials before commercial hotel shelter sites opened in their respective districts.

District 26 already has more than 30 shelters currently accommodating migrants, Won’s spokesperson said. For instance, in February, the Wingate by Wyndham, a three-star hotel located at 38-70 12th St., was converted into a shelter for migrants.


Ebike fire destroys building, kills elderly woman and leaves other tenants homeless 



Thomas Rodriguez, a resident of Ozone Park, says he’s lucky his wife, 67-year-old Marie Rodriguez, and their dog Penny are alive after a fire tore through their apartment building Friday afternoon. 

“She was ready to jump. Don’t worry, the fire department is here and they’re going to bring up a ladder. They were able to get here. She was more concerned that she couldn’t get the dog out because of the smoke,” Thomas Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was at work while the FDNY rescued his wife and their dog from the flames. She was taken to Jamaica Hospital for smoke inhalation, but has since been released. The couple lives at the back of a building on 98th Street in Ozone Park.

He says the owner of the building and his 93-year-old mother, Kam Mei Koo, live in the adjacent apartment. Koo did not survive her injuries and died as a result of the blaze, according to police.

“She was a very nice lady. She was to herself. She was 93-years-old. She could barely make it up the steps,” Rodriguez said.

The FDNY got a call at around 1:30 p.m. and says an e-bike was discovered at the scene. On Saturday, fire marshals determined that a lithium-ion caused the fire, which the department says was accidental.

Rodriguez says the owner charged the bike near the entrance of the building by a staircase leading to the two apartments in the building.

“I left this morning for work and noticed the bike was plugged in and I said, ‘Maybe I should unplug it.’ It’s been like that a few times and no problems, nothing,” Rodriguez said. “And you know what I told myself, ‘Maybe I should call my wife and tell her to unplug it’ but I got busy at work.”

Friday, August 11, 2023

Caption Mayor Adams and his "team" 

Why is Adams looking up while addressing the city?

12 billion dollars more
Photo by JQ LLC

NY Daily News  

New York City is on track to spend as much as $12 billion on managing the local migrant crisis by mid-2025 — a staggering price tag that Mayor Adams warned Wednesday will necessitate more “across the board” cuts to city services.

The new City Hall cost estimate — which was first reported by the Daily News ahead of its Wednesday morning release — eclipses the $4.3 billion Adams’ administration previously projected it would spend by July 2024 on housing, feeding and providing services for the tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived since last year.

Under the administration’s revised projection, which was prompted by a recent uptick in migrant arrivals, the city is expected to spend as much as $6.1 billion by July 2024. Costs are then set to surge further, reaching the $12 billion mark by July 2025, according to the projection.

“We are past our breaking point,” Adams said in a speech at City Hall, adding that it “breaks this city’s heart” that dozens of migrants resorted a few weeks ago to sleeping on a Midtown Manhattan sidewalk after being told there was no more room in the city’s overcrowded shelter system.

Hundreds of migrants are seen sleeping outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan early Monday, July 31, 2023. Asylum seekers are camping outside the Roosevelt Hotel as the Manhattan relief center is at capacity.

On average, Adams said, the city is already spending $9.8 million per day on accommodating migrants. There are currently more than 57,000 migrants in the city’s shelters and emergency housing systems, most of them Latin Americans who arrived in New York after crossing the U.S. southern border in hopes of obtaining asylum status, according to Adams’ office.

Due to the ballooning price tag, Adams said his administration is in the process of scaling back services being offered to migrants in the city’s care. Perks like free meals, laundry and hygiene products are likely to be on the chopping block, Adams said.

“Every service must be cut,” he told reporters in the City Hall Rotunda after his speech. “Some of the things we were doing we are not going to be able to do.”

Beyond migrants, Adams said services being offered to New Yorkers are also likely to be trimmed back. “Every service in this city is going to be impacted,” he said.

Adams has already slashed spending at nearly all city agencies over the past year due to fiscal concerns largely driven by the migrant crisis. That has resulted in drastic service reductions, like the recent closure of a city Health Department library that emerged as a key scientific research resource during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only way the city can avoid further budgetary pain is if President Biden’s administration provides Adams’ administration with more financial and logistical aid, the mayor said.

“The White House can help us now,” Adams said.

Let's go Brandon, show us the money.


City Council passes restaurant shanty bill despite state judge's decision against them
Photo by JQ LLC


 Queens Chronicle

Since 2020, outdoor dining has been a significant but usually temporary fixture of New York City. Restaurants that did not have outdoor dining space at the time were able to apply for them based on a temporary emergency outdoor dining program created by the city as a response to the pandemic, called Open Restaurants. The city estimates that 100,000 jobs were saved as a result.

After two years of public hearings, the City Council passed a bill on Aug. 3, Intro. 31-C, that will make outdoor dining a permanent city fixture — with certain restrictions.

Under the bill, which was sponsored by Councilmember Marjorie Velazquez (D-Bronx), restaurants are allowed to have street-based outdoor-dining structures from April through November, but they must be dismantled from Nov. 30 through March 31.

Sidewalk cafes, on the other hand, will be allowed year-round with the proper permit, which would cost $1,050. Curb-based roadway seating would require a separate permit as well, priced at the same amount, according to the bill’s text. Additionally, restaurants will have to pay fees based on their location and square footage.

The bill also gives restaurants time to transition from the Open Restaurants program while petitioning for a sidewalk or roadway cafe license.

Previously, Open Restaurants came under scrutiny in multiple lawsuits in which plaintiffs deemed the program unnecessary in a post-pandemic world. Other legal complaints included congestion, excessive noise and garbage issues. The lawsuits were overall ineffective in halting the program.

Restaurants utilizing any privately owned outdoor space, private parking lots, balconies, terraces, open-air rooftop space or on open-air boats do not need to apply for permits, according to the city Department of Transportation, which will administer the program.

“As we move from an emergency program to one under local law, this legislation strikes the right balance for restaurants, neighborhoods, and all New Yorkers,” Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) said in a statement. “It allows a greater number of restaurants to continue participating, while easing the bureaucratic barriers, making the licensing costs affordable, and providing orderly and uniform regulations that were missing from the temporary program. This permanent program will serve and support our neighborhoods, restaurants, residents and city for years to come.”

In a press release, Mayor Adams said, “Outdoor dining is here to stay in New York City ... This bill preserves the best parts of the temporary program and eliminates the worst. We will create a vibrant, clean, and safe streetscape; give restaurants the clarity they need to continue serving their customers; and make New York City the best outdoor dining city in the world.”

Adams is expected to sign the bill into law once it reaches his desk.

Cue Up NY 

  In a long-awaited decision, State Supreme Court Judge Arlene P. Bluth declared the Mayor’s emergency executive orders suspending local laws to allow for continuous outdoor dining in New York City violate the state law which limits the permissible triggers and length of any such mayoral decrees. The unambiguous ruling calls into question the future of the Temporary Open Restaurants Program as the City Council is poised to vote on controversial legislation making permanent the unlawful program.

Judge Bluth's scathing critique of Mayor Adams’ Executive Order sends a clear message: "The local laws suspended by the executive order required that certain areas, like sidewalks and streets, are public places and not places for private establishments to run their businesses." The court unequivocally rejected any notion of unchecked executive power, stating, "This court declines to embrace a theory of judicial review that would permit unlimited actions by an executive without any check by the judicial branch."

The ruling exposed the mayoral order's wholly inadequate justification for suspending local laws. Judge Bluth concluded: "The court finds that this executive order fails to offer a rational justification for suspending [twenty-six] local laws to permit outdoor dining. Simply put, the Court finds that the order did not sufficiently explain why an emergency exists that requires the suspension of certain local laws."

The court agreed with the thirty-four petitioners from across the city who claimed that the emergency economic conditions used to justify the mayor’s overreach no longer exist. Judge Bluth minced no words, stating, "The problem here is that respondent has not adequately explained that an emergency involving an immediate or imminent danger still exists to justify the suspension of local laws."

As a result of the court’s ruling, the City may not rely on emergency orders to support its beleaguered Temporary Open Restaurants Program. Simply put, Temporary Open Restaurants has no basis in law and should immediately be phased out.

Attorney Michael Sussman, representing the petitioners, noted, "For two years, we have fought to preserve the rule of law and the dignity and peaceable enjoyment of our streets for the residents of [the City]. Today, the State Supreme Court has dealt a blow to the unjust Temporary Open Restaurants Program, which was precariously propped up by two bankrupt executive orders. The Temporary Open Restaurants program is without legs or stilts or any other support and should now be dismantled.”

"The City Council, not the Mayor, must act if New York City is to have a legitimate Open Restaurants program,” asserted Sussman. “We demand that the City Council adheres to lawful processes, including a proper environmental review, which they have conveniently neglected for more than two and a half years.”

"It is high time the city stops doing end runs around transparency and environmental review. The City Council has one choice: do the right thing, or we will see them in court," added Leif Arntzen for CueUp, a leading advocacy group.

Today’s ruling makes clear that the architects of the Open Restaurants program have cut corners and sidestepped lawful procedures in keeping a pandemic program in place long after that emergency ended.

“Accountability is paramount in the governance of our city," said Leslie Clark, a spokesperson for CueUp. "The way to get this right is by conducting a comprehensive Environmental Impact Study, free from the influence of special interest lobbyists. This is an opportunity for Mayor Adams and the City Council to demonstrate a commitment to developing a dining program that works for all New Yorkers.”

Read Judge Bluth’s ruling on e-Track:

Index No. 156328/2022


Corona businesses and residents venting against illegal vendors

 Queens Chronicle

Unlicensed vendors, prostitutes and drunks are creating chaos in and around Corona Plaza, making the area dirty and dangerous for families, according to residents and business owners who rallied for a better environment Aug. 7.

The protesters, who rallied a little more than a block down National Street at American Triangle, held signs in both English and Spanish pleading for an end to fighting and drunkeness in the area, among other issues.

“My office receives from 18 to 20 complaints weekly from concerned residents and business owners who feel the negative impact of the lack of consideration shown by these street vendors,” City Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) said in a press release after the event. “The situation has escalated to the point where it is creating an unsanitary and disorganized environment for everyone in the area.” Moya said.

The event followed an Aug. 2 rally in support of the unlicensed vendors, which was held by activists and area politicians including Borough President Donovan Richards and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) after the city launched a sweep that cleared the site of many.

Richards, who credits a task force he formed with improving conditions in the plaza, called the sweep “draconian” and an “injustice.”

He and others who support the vendors, reportedly numbering near 80, say the main problem is that the city does not provide enough licenses. The City Council passed legislation to increase the number of permits available, but the bureaucracy is far behind schedule on actually offering them, according to the outlet Streetsblog — and the number will remain far short of the total believed to be operating in the city.

Merchant Yarin Nadel said he has three businesses in the area but that vendors set up shop right in front of his places and undersell him — because he has to pay to pay taxes, employees and rent — and then leave behind trash that he gets ticketed for.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Highway Star


Generations of motorists in central Queens would scoff at the notion of “award” being used in the same sentence as Kew Gardens Interchange, but this is now true. Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Aug. 4 that the $937 million Kew Gardens Interchange reconstruction project that was completed by the State Department of Transportation last winter was recognized with an award at the 2023 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

The Kew Gardens Interchange project was named a winner of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials region in the “Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Large Project” category. This year, 36 state transportation departments participated in the competition, nominating 81 total projects.

“The Department of Transportation’s Kew Gardens Interchange project was a massive undertaking that utilized innovation and technology to improve the transportation infrastructure in Queens, all while reducing bottlenecks and helping keep traffic moving,” Hochul said. “To be recognized on a national level for this work is a testament to our efforts to make the lives of New Yorkers better.”

The America’s Transportation Awards competition recognizes the projects and programs that make their communities better places to live, work and play. Now in its 16th year, the awards help to showcase why transportation infrastructure is so vital and, as the drivers who spent a good portion of their lives trapped in bottlenecks on the Interchange can attest, the reconstruction project that was nearly four decades in the making was indeed vital.

The award-winning project revamped one of the metropolitan area’s most heavily traveled corridors, creating faster travel times, safer merging and exiting, and more reliable connections for the hundreds of thousands of commuters, travelers, and local businesses who use it daily to reach JFK and LaGuardia airports and other key destinations throughout the region.


Rodents capture discount store


Members of the Ozone Park Residents Block Association (OZPKRBA)  stood outside of the neighborhood’s Dollar Tree at 137-20 Cross Bay Blvd. on Monday, Aug. 7 to warn locals of “a rat infestation” that ultimately forced the store to close after numerous complaints.

This past weekend, OZPKRBA President Sam Esposito, a lifelong Ozone Park resident, received complaints from residents who notified him of the store’s condition. Esposito arrived at the store on Sunday afternoon to check it out for himself only to find rat droppings underneath and on top of some of the store’s food products, as well as packaging that appeared to have been eaten through by the rodents.

“What we saw was appalling,” Esposito told reporters on Monday. “It’s all over the store.”

For Esposito, his immediate concern rooted from the store’s close proximity to local shelters that house families that rely on Dollar Tree for affordable food. Upon seeing the extent of the store’s rat problem for himself, Esposito confronted the store’s assistant manager before contacting Dollar Tree’s corporate office and the neighborhood’s elected representatives.

“[She] dismissed us, disrespected us, would not take this seriously and would not remove the food from the shelves,” Esposito said of his conversation with the store’s assistant manager. “Corporate from Dollar Tree came onto the scene [and] shut down this site down, as of eight o’clock this morning, indefinitely.”

Dollar Tree first opened its doors on Cross Bay Boulevard in 2018 shortly after the closure of Lady Jane Craft Center, which previously occupied the space for decades. Since opening, Esposito said the store has been an ongoing source of problems, including garbage buildup in the streets, not cleaning the sidewalk, leaving gates unsecured and prostitutes “doing business” in the store’s garage.

This, according to Esposito, has earned the store a poor reputation over the past few years.

“We have three Dollar Trees,” Esposito said. “This one is known as the worst, the sloppiest, the dirtiest and now, rat-infested.”


Monday, August 7, 2023

Public Advocate Begone



NY Post 

A pair of City Council members are pushing to abolish the public advocate office because they feel it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Queens Councilman Robert Holden told The Post he plans to team up with fellow moderate Democratic Councilman Kalman Yeger of Brooklyn and introduce legislation in the coming months that would force Democratic socialist Jumaane Williams to find a new job.

The public advocate’s $5 million-plus office budget could go to “more essential services” like funding cops and firefighters, added Holden, who’s butted heads politically with “defund the police” supporter Williams for years.

“We have to tighten our belts as a city – especially with this migrant crisis – so that office should be the first to go,” said Holden. “The office does nothing anyway, and no one is ever around to pick up the phone when you call because Jumaane has so many of them working remotely.”

The public advocate oversees 63 staffers and is mostly seen as a watchdog for city government. 

Office holders also get their own taxpayer-funded NYPD security detail with a private driver.

Under Williams, the office has been primarily used as a bully pulpit, including when he infamously stoked Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 by pushing anti-cop rhetoric, critics say.

Holden said the City Council “already has oversight over the mayor,” making the public advocate office duplicative.

 Feels good to be an influencer. Thanks CM's Holder and Yeger (who actually tried to get rid of this earlier but had no chance with the confederacy of fauxgressive dunces that have been occupying City Council for the last decade.)

Linky's war on custard 

NY Post

He’s no Mr. Softee!

Far-left Brooklyn Councilman Lincoln Restler is pushing new legislation that would require Mr. Softee and other Big Apple ice cream trucks to stop powering their soft-serve machines and freezers with generators that use fuel.

The bill would require the vendors to switch over to environmentally friendly alternatives like electric or solar power — likely at a cost of $5,000 or more.

The ice-cold measure, introduced Thursday, is already under attack from Restler’s riled-up colleagues who fear it could put some vendors out of business and have kids screaming about ice cream of the lack thereof.

“In the dog days of August, it’s hard to imagine more of a killjoy than putting one’s climate bullseye on our iconic ice cream man, but behold, I give you Councilman Lincoln Restler,” quipped Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island).

“That’s not the ice caps melting, kids, it’s your summertime tears.”

Added Borelli: “Sometimes I try to convince myself that hipster Brooklyn is part of the real world, with real-world problems, and then Lincoln Restler goes and reminds us of priority number one: banning the ice cream man.”

A Mr. Softee vendor parked in front of Pier 34 on the Lower East Side said there was no need for a meltdown.

“I’m not worried about it – it’s not gonna happen. It’s too expensive,” said the vendor, who has owned two trucks for 20 years. “They would have to make all of the construction sites and food vendor trucks do the same thing and that’s just not gonna happen.”

Restler, a notorious hater of cars, didn’t speak about the bill at Thursday’s Council meeting but confirmed to The Post that it’s in response to complaints he’s received about diesel-spewing ice cream trucks stinking up Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO and other neighborhoods.

The bill would give trucks three years to switch over to electric or solar energy. 

Solar? The irony of relying on the thing that ruins ice cream.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Zara Vile


During one of the hottest days in New York City on Thursday, July 27, Imran Patel, a Flushing resident at 140-60 Beech Ave. claimed that he and his family are facing eviction by Jamaica-based real estate company Zara Realty for putting an air conditioner in their apartment. 

“We’re in the middle of a heatwave here in NYC and they’re threatening to kick us out of our home because we want to be able to live in this heat,” Patel said. “They claim that we’re violating the lease, but nothing in the lease says that we can’t have an AC in the window. They gave us no warning — the super had even told me two years ago that it was fine, but two weeks ago we were given a notice that Zara wanted to evict us.” 

A spokesman for Zara Realty said Patel’s claims for not being able to have air conditioning in his apartment is false and is a safety concern. According to the company, the building has air conditioner sleeves and the tenant refused to install the air conditioner where it is supposed to be.

“Putting the air conditioner in the window is a significant risk to health and human safety as it could fall out of the window onto someone below causing serious injury or death,” the spokesman said. “The air conditioner sleeve is the appropriate, safest, and approved place for the air conditioner unit, not the window.”

Patel, who has been living at the apartment for 20 years, was joined by rent-stabilized tenants from two other buildings owned by Zara Realty (140-30 Ash Ave. and 140-50 Ash Ave.) at the July 27 press conference in calling out the company for alleged harassment of immigrant tenants, including asking for birth and marriage certifies, excessive fees for keys, and increasing rents by nearly $300 per month. 

“Zara has been continuously harassing us since they bought the building in 2019—there is no peace,” Patel said. “When Zara changed the locks, they only gave us one key for our family of five. We still only have one key. We have leaks and mold in our bathroom; the electrical outlets are loose and often don’t work.” 

“And I’m not the only one,” Patel continued. “They’ve started eviction cases against a few other families in the building for the same reason. I’ll fight back and I know I will win, but I also know that for every tenant like me, there’s another who would move out of fear because an eviction record can destroy your chance at finding a home.”

After two years, Maria Jenny Lopez, a tenant of 140-30 Ash Ave., was able to get a key for her brother who lives with her. Lopez claims she suffered harassment, including Zara employees on the fire escape taking pictures through her window. 

“Other tenants are still waiting for a key and are forced to pay up to $100. It’s outrageous for such a simple yet important thing. They are also asking us for marriage or birth certificates. This isn’t right. That is abuse. That is harassment,” Lopez said. 

Doug Ostling, a tenant organizer and resident of 140-50 Ash Ave., said he’s “sick and tired of Zara’s harassment tactics and attempts” to raise their rents. 

“This is our home. This is our community. We pay our rent just like everyone else, but Zara continues to harass us and treat us like pawns in their money-making schemes,” Ostling said. “They don’t make basic repairs and then try to raise our rent? Enough is enough. We just want to live peacefully and in safe and livable homes!” 

The tenants claim Zara is trying to unlawfully raise rents by filing Major Capital Improvement (MCI) applications with the NYS Department of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR), the state agency that oversees rent-stabilized buildings in New York. 

They’re calling on DHCR to deny Zara’s applications due to building disrepairs and apply the letter of the law which prohibits MCIs while certain violations exist. 

The tenants allege that there is a lack of heat and hot water, roaches and mice infestation in the hallway and basement, leaking roofs, broken garage chutes, and security cameras they can’t access. According to the tenants, Zara’s repairs include “patchwork jobs” that quickly fall back into disrepair.